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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Roman Catholic Church may be losing relevance in Europe



Roman Catholic Church may be losing relevance in Europe


VATICAN CITY - Many Europeans may no longer be considering the Roman Catholic Church relevant in their personal and public lives, according to a news report citing some controversial church decisions, including ban on gay marriages, which have not been generally accepted in Europe.
A detailed report in the Los Angeles Times, which comes in the backdrop of Pope Benedict XVI quitting, cited his declaration in May 2010 in Portugal relating to the protection of families based on "the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman".
As the pontiff made the declaration, Portugal declared passing a law that would allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Spain had granted such rights five years earlier.
The move, according to the Times, turned the entire Iberian Peninsula, historically a Catholic stronghold, into an unlikely hitching post for homosexuals.
"That shows the importance of the pope's views, of the Catholic Church's views, on same-sex marriage in terms of domestic politics," the Times quoted Paulo Corte-Real, a gay-rights activist and economics professor, as saying.
It goes on to show, besides "an embarrassment", that the "Roman Catholic Church, once a mighty force on its home continent, is weaker in modern Europe than ever before, its influence ebbing, its privileged status increasingly called into question".
Benedict, during his eight year stint that came to a surprising end after he stepped down a first in 600 years for any pontiff to quit - tried to revive Catholicism on its home turf.
But the church, as per the report, faces a "grim reality" that Benedict's campaign has failed to reverse "Europe's slide toward what church leaders regard as godless humanism".
"The clerical sex-abuse scandal has stripped the church of much of its credibility and moral authority in parts of Europe and the United States as well. When it comes to high-profile social issues such as gay rights and abortion, the church has lost battle after battle."
Therefore for many Europeans, the relevance of the church is a thing of the past.
"The modern world and the Catholic Church are out of step," said Clifford Longley, a Catholic columnist and analyst in Britain.
"The Catholic Church can try to re-evangelize by getting the modern world back into step with it, but I don't think that's going to work."
Its declining fortunes in Europe pose tough choices to the cardinals gathering in their secretive conclave to choose a new pontiff
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